High school football has long been extremely popular in Texas. The story of Permian High School’s 1988 Permian Panthers team and its run towards the state championship was the subject of the best-selling book Friday Night Lights, published in 1990. A movie based on the book was made in 2004 and boasted a cast that starred, Connie Britton, Billy Bob Thornton, Derek Luke and Tim McGraw. Roy Williams, formerly of the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, and Chicago Bears, went to school at Permian and portrayed an assistant coach for Midland Lee in the movie.
Shortly thereafter in 2006, NBC television aired a series (of the same name) loosely based on the school and book. Connie Britton was also in this reboot along with Kyle Chandler and my Hart of Dixie castmate — Scott Porter.
The team, whose rallying cry is “Mojo”, won the Texas state championship in the 4A classification (the state’s largest until 1980) in 1965 and 1972 and the 5A classification in 1980, 1984 (a co-championship with French High School,located in Beaumont, Texas the last time that a football co-championship was awarded by the UIL; it would later adopt NCAA overtime rules), 1989 and 1991. Permian was selected by National Sports News Service as the High School Football National co-Champions in 1972 and 1989.
Here’s a look back at the film and the series it inspired